Ah, someone from the cast who feels the same as longtime West Wing fans.
Richard Schiff, who plays Toby Ziegler on the show (yes, I say "plays" even though he's been fired - he'll be in upcoming episodes) wanted to leave the show. In this article about a play he is in, Schiff talks about the show:
"It’s been time for me to move on for quite a while actually. You know, the money was very good and that’s what kind of drew me back because I felt like after five years of 70-hour weeks that I kind of deserved to get a little bit of a payoff. And the money got very good in the last two years. I wanted to leave and then we kind of made a compromise that I would come back and give them a story that they could use to lead me going out. They came up with firing him... That wasn’t my idea!
Between you and me - and you can print this - Toby wouldn’t have done that in ten million years! But, you
know, it’s not my show...And now it’s even greatly sad because of John Spencer’s passing. I certainly,
honestly, don’t want to go back for another season without Johnny there. I couldn’t imagine The West Wing
without Toby Ziegler and I couldn’t imagine it without Leo McGarrey as well. It’s just not possible. So, it
might move on and become another show and that’s fine.
It’s important for people to know that I really, really loved this Toby character. And I really loved the people on The West Wing. Allison Janney is my soulmate on the set and John Spencer was just one of the most fascinating, wonderful human beings I’ve ever met. And Martin Sheen is singularly the best human being I’ve ever met. Tommy Schlamme who used to run the show and Aaron Sorkin and his writing and some of the writers who tried to fill his footsteps are truly wonderfully gifted and they’re family and I love them to death. I just feel like it’s time to get out of the kitchen once in a while. It’s time to move on."
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